Saturday, June 30, 2007
Melt - The World Cafe, Oriental Singapore
Any celebration is a good excuse to pig out. And Melt is a good place to do it. Cosy ambience, warm service and food from around the world in one place. We came here for lunch, celebrating second baby's healthy ultrasound results (looks like it may be a girl too!). This is going to be another bumper post since it's a buffet.
I started with the Japanese station - large generous pieces of sushi (at least eight kinds available) and fresh sashimi. The sushi looked pretty decent, unlike most buffet sushi. However, while the fish was OK (sashimi still better) the sushi rice was way too dry. Hubby enjoyed their cold soba (gone before I took a pic).
They also had appetisers of all sorts, including dainty ones in Chinese porcelain soup spoons and saucers. These looked better than they tasted. A small bread and esoteric cheese counter, various cold meats and some other stuff completed this section.
The Chinese station is incredibly small - just 5 dishes and a prawn noodle a la minute station. I suppose this is so they won't clash with their Chinese restaurant Cherry Garden upstairs. Anyway, the wok-fried prawns were delicious - large, fresh and savoury - fried so crisp I could eat the shells. The deep-fried chicken had lemon sauce and sweet-sour sauce accompaniments. Kung pao chicken a little too salty but still tasty. Fried rice noodles very average. I didn't try the braised eggplants.
The Thai station looked really good. Six different salads and six warm mains (beef with peppers, basil with chicken, sweet and sour fish, tofu with vegetables, green curry and beef ball soup).
Interestingly, the salads didn't taste alike (clockwise from top - pomelo, papaya, dragonfruit, mango and glass noodle). Some were sweet, some more tangy and another savoury and another just muted. Lovely juxtaposition of tastes. Nice shrimp and tapioca crackers.
The Indian section is probably the most extensive and quite well-done. Here you have a selection of chicken tandoori and tikka items, lamb kebabs, shafik paneer and fish. A separate station featured Indian curries and carbs of all kinds.
My plate combining bitesize portions from the tandoori and curry sections. Quite a variety of naans whipped out from the adjacent tandoori oven. I must say the basmati rice is incredibly good - so very well-flavoured with generous bits of savoury fried shallots. I could eat this on its own!
This section I was not so fond of. Glazed beef, garlic chicken and potato, snapper with cream, grilled sea bass, aubergines with cheese, asparagus with cherry tomatoes. Maybe I was too full by this time to fully enjoy it. Hubby voted the Japanese-style beef stew (middle pot, bottom row) as his no.1 favourite from the whole buffet though. And the very creamy, almost cheesy mashed potatoes his no.2.
Now on to what is probably the most raved about section of Melt (almost every online account carries some form of praise for their desserts)! A fantastic wonderland that lets the child out of even the most hardened soul.
Surprisingly, my favourite item from the desserts came in the form of the humble vanilla ice cream, served on top of a crisp yet fluffy waffle. This has got to be the most authentic vanilla ice cream ever! Tiny specks of real vanilla seeds imparted a fragrance that no artifical flavouring can match. If I ever come back, this is a must-have!
The rather simple-looking Mexican cookie next to the waffle was also a treat - crumbles so lightly in your mouth in buttery richness. The berry and fruit mille feuille was a flaky pastry topped with glazed fruit, competently done but not as wow as the other two.
Don't be deceived by the tiny, innocuous-looking shooters of clear jelly. This is the most potent champagne jelly I have ever tasted! They must have added some super-strength vodka as well. A teaspoon of this made me momentarily woozy. I could not finish it, delicious as it was. Neither could hubby.
And if you still haven't satisfied your sugar craving from the many cakes, custards, cookies, waffles, fruit and chocolate fountain goodies, there's the gulab jamun to give you the ultimate high. This infamously sweet Indian dessert is really just milk-dough balls fried and soaked in syrup, but I have never found out how they manage to make it so shockingly sweet. The custard on raspberry jam is on the other end of the spectrum - delightfully light on sweetness but pert and tangy.
So there. I didn't get to try everything but I left very full and happy (but just personally though, I think I enjoyed myself more at Cherry Garden). I was quite glad the staff didn't object to my photo-taking, although some American guests kept staring and commented about how I'm certainly going to blog later. Yeah, yeah.
MELT - THE WORLD CAFE
4th floor, The Oriental Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
Weekend High Tea: 3pm-5:30pm